Happy Travels, life


Idaho was a bit lonely.


Montana was lovely.


Washington was surprising. Mt. Rainier in the background.


Coming through the pass into Seattle was breathtaking. Even though my window was disgusting.



An urban train in Bellingham was exactly what I needed to pass the time peacefully before loading the ferry. 


Behold the ferry!


Goodbye to Bellingham from the water.


Sunset the first night.


My home base for the next two days.


First glimpse of Ketchikan.


Getting off the boat!



Related articles

moving to Alaska

the last day

Destination: Bellingham

arriving in Spokane

the last day

Happy Travels, life

I found myself writing periodically through the day when I got bored so this entry is more like a running commentary than a recap of the day…

Day 5 has been both long and passed quickly. Sleep did not come easily, nor was it restful. I think it is greatly unfair that those who snore loudly and keep other up have the most restful sleep. Totally not fair. I was able to get an hour nap in the late morning while our travel took the boat out of the channel and into open water giving me the greatest chance to experience motion sickness. Lucky for me I’ve been in a hammock a bit recently and could talk myself into thinking I was floating in a hammock and not rocking back and forth on a boat.

The car deck is open only four times a day and for only 15 minutes. I think Ellie has been coping with it just fine, though this last time she was more urgent to get out of the car. She has yet to go to the bathroom, though in talking to a couple other dog owners, I have learned this is not uncommon. She is eating and drinking her water so I know she isn’t too stressed out. In fact, she has found her bag of food in the car and torn it open. There is now three days worth of food strewn under the seat. I was able to save a good amount of it so she will still be able to eat between now and Sunday night when I will be heading to the store. Hopefully she won’t cause any damage trying to get to the kibbles under the seat. Silly dog.

There are plenty of pleasant people on the boat. Lots of older couples and people headed to summer jobs. There is another girl my age traveling with a dog on the ferry for the first time as well. I have yet to find out why she is headed North, but we have been able to chat with each other about dog stress. What a funny people dog moms are. 🙂 Here we are stressing and worrying about our dogs when they continue to be just fine.

At this point there will be two more car deck calls, one at 8:15 pm and 12:15 am, before we are scheduled to arrive in Ketchikan. It seems there has been no lack of things to countdown over the past 5 weeks. And if I’m being honest, I’ve been counting down since January, so there’s that.

The boat has shown movies most of the day, which has been nice to pass the time. There is a history of Alaska playing now. The last thing I wanted to know is that mosquitos survive in the Alaska tundra. Is there no escape from those things?! But the pictures and scenes shown have been beautiful and I am glad to be moving to such a lovely place.

I thought it would be sad if I spent the whole 36 hours of boat ride through the Inner Passage in a dark room so I headed out to the deck for awhile. It’s been raining since sometime in the night, I’m sure, and will continue through the day. It’s not as chilly outside as I expected, but I’m glad I was wearing my hoodie. The landscape rises quickly from the shore and the islands are covered with pine trees. Fog stays close to the ground and the grey sky and water highlight the deep green of the trees. It is striking, though I wish the sun would shine.

We had another jaunt into the open ocean this afternoon. The swells were bigger and we had more rocking than before. Not so easy to convince myself that it was hammock-motion and not ocean-motion. I went out onto one of the observation decks to look out the windows until the rocking settled a bit. They were showing “Trouble with the curve” (which I liked) in the theater room and I really wanted to see it so I went back in a little bit before I normally would have. It turned out ok, no throwing up though I did feel uncomfortable for awhile. But it wasn’t as bad as I get on the bus ride home from school sometimes so I knew it would be ok. The blessing and curse of having motion sickness your whole life is knowing exactly how sick you are.

There is more chill in the air than earlier today and the fog is thicker. As far as I can tell we are still scheduled to arrive at 7 am tomorrow, though we left an hour late yesterday so I’m not sure if that will be amended still or if we have made up time. Or if that is even scheduled in. And I’ve realized I don’t really know anything, I’m just along for the ride.

It is interesting to me that the channels we are passing through are deep enough for boats our size. the islands are pretty close together, making a narrow channel. I wonder how much water we actually need to float and pass through?

It’s finally sort of sinking in that this is a one way trip. I’m not doing this in a week to go back to Salt Lake. And now that I’ve come this far it’s actually ok that I think about my life in Alaska. My life in Alaska. Weird. I’ve not allowed myself to think about it or dwell on it too much since there was so much to do and a long way to go before I got there. Now I’m more than half way through this last leg of the journey, if now’s not an appropriate time to think about it then I don’t know when is.

And after 28 hours on board ellie finally peed and pooped. hurrah. I don’t think I’ve been so excited about her poop before. what a weird thing.

Also, I have pictures from the trip but until Internet is hooked up at home they are stranded on my phone. I’ll post them later.

loading on the boat

Happy Travels, life

Day four complete and it included a lot of waiting. I woke up at a decent hour, adjusting nicely to the time change. We stayed in the hotel until almost check out and then found a really nice park to hang out in until the time for check in rolled around.

We checked in at the port and then got in line to load. And then waited THREE hours in the sunshine to get on the boat. Yes I got a little sunburned on my left side.

Loading on the ferry was a little weird. I drove onto the main car deck, and then onto an elevator that took me to the upper car deck. I was given instructions while squeezing into a small spot. After a slight miscommunication with the fellow giving the instructions, and I’m pretty sure he belived I really had no idea what I was doing, I manuvered the car into the correct spot and sighed a big sigh of relief. It was a pretty crazy tight spot.

I then gathered my stuff and proceeded to leave Ellie in the car. Which totally sucked.

What also sucked was being without cell service and wifi. Sigh. The problem with being totally connected all the time is what happens when you become unconnected. It’s a wierd sort of solitude.

While we are moving we are allowed in the car deck only at certain times and for only 15 mintues. The problem is that everyone has their dogs out of the car at the same time and in these cramped small little places. When Ellie is stressed she shakes like it’s 17 below freezing. So for most of the 15 minutes she sat on my lap shaking like a polaroid picture instead of relieving herself. Oh well. The next car deck call is at 12:15 am. hopefully she will have to go bad enough then.

My mom was really worried about me getting motion sick during the ride. I wasn’t concerned about it at all and it seems I was right. I can barely tell we are moving and if it wasn’t for the constant rumble and vibration I would feel like I was in someone’s basement in a recliner watching the Amazing SpiderMan instead of on a ferry cruising past Canada in a recliner watching the Amazing SpiderMan.

And at this point I wish I had earplugs. There is already a fellow sitting two rows behind me snoring up a forest. Sigh. I think it should be mandatory for people who snore to get their own room. To preserve the sanity of everyone else.

Destination: Bellingham

Happy Travels, life

Third leg down! The big ferry ride is tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it. A bit nervous about how it will all work out, but only because I’ve never done it before. But I am looking forward to the adventure.

Ellie was a trooper again today. I made it a point to travel earlier in the day instead of later so the sun wouldn’t be in her eyes and it worked out pretty well. She really is a great traveling companion.

Spokane was a really beautiful place. The big river was so nice and the cool morning air smelled of mud and trees. It reminds me of camping in the mountains, which was always a good time.

Though there is something here that is triggering my allergies. I’ve never really had an issue with allergies before but today I sneezed so many times and my nose and eyes itch. Hopefully it’s something in Washington that isn’t in Alaska too.

We traveled a beautiful stretch of road. I spied Mt. Rainier in the distance. I had forgotten how wide the Columbia River is and was amazed at its size when we crossed over it. And coming through Snoqualmie Pass was simply breathtaking. After coming through the pass I came down into Seattle which I’ve only from the air so driving through it was fun. Hopefully I’ll be able to explore during an extended stay in the near future.

Another hour North brought us to Bellingham, our destination. This is a fun little town too. I took a turn around the dock where we will load tomorrow before heading to the hotel. I took it easy and relaxed in the hotel room all afternoon knowing that I would have all morning tomorrow to poke around historic Fairhaven before we get on the ferry.

Also, I spent the first half of the drive really irritated with the bird that pooped on my window and prevented many picture opportunities. But I’m over it now. And my window is clean again.

Destination: Bellingham

Destination: Bellingham

Destination: Bellingham

Destination: Bellingham

arriving in Spokane

Happy Travels, life

Second leg of this journey is done. Lots of driving today but it went quickly and without incident.

Ellie is a pretty good companion in the car. Though I did feel really bad when the sun started to get low in the sky and she didn’t have any shade. She usually escapes to the backseat when that happens but there is no backseat available this time. She’s a trooper. With a little adjusting she was able to see out the windows which made a big difference in her settling down near the end of the day.

I was surprised at the beauty of northern Idaho and Montana. I’ve only been to southern Idaho until now and, to be honest, I don’t think it’s anything to get excited about. But the northern part of the state has many mountains and is covered with trees. And Coeur d’Alene! Such a beautiful place. It was beautiful enough to coerce me into taking a quick bathroom break and even pull over to the side of the road to get a better look. Which is saying something.

When we arrived in Spokane I was surprised to discover my hotel is RIGHT next door to Gonzaga University. There is also a paved walk next to the river right behind the hotel and after eight + hours of driving Ellie and I needed a walk. Since it was about 80 degrees I left my sweater in the car and we walked about a mile down the trail. We went passed Gonzaga, which has a beautiful campus, and crossed the river on a pedestrian bridge. The air was sweet with flowers in bloom and the sun kept us warm. We went about a mile or so and then turned back. I’m thinking we’ll take another jaunt before we head out in the morning.

Driving with only two mirrors is a new kind of skill. I have to use much more caution when backing up and I’m pretty paranoid. Talk about blind spots! But all is going well. It will be nice to get to my destination to I can unpack my car and use my windows again. 🙂

I am looking forward to the ferry ride. I will have some downtime in Bellingham as well and I’d like to poke around the historic district around the port a little. We’ll see what happens when I get there.

Two more legs and three days to go!

arriving in Spokane

arriving in Spokane

arriving in Spokane